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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks as NDP Leader Jack Layton, left, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, second from right, and Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, right, listen during the French-language leaders' debate in Ottawa April 13, 2011. (POOL/Sean Kilpatrick/Reuters)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks as NDP Leader Jack Layton, left, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, second from right, and Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, right, listen during the French-language leaders' debate in Ottawa April 13, 2011. (POOL/Sean Kilpatrick/Reuters)

As It Happened

Liveblog: The French-language leaders debate Add to ...

The party leaders met for round two in Wednesday night's French-language debate.

Quebec numbers from Wednesday's Nanos poll showed that Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc leader, would be walking into the French-language debate "with wind under his sails," The Globe's Jane Taber wrote.

Readers noted that the other leaders seemed more comfortable this time around while they tried to gain ground in Quebec without losing support in the other provinces.

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The Globe's Les Perreaux in Montreal, B.C. editor Patrick Brethour and parliamentary reporter Bill Curry followed Wednesday evening's debate.

Here are some highlights:

First question is about coalitions - the word that was avoided in Tuesday night's English debate. Patrick Brethour: Bang - what's wrong with a coalition? The anti-BQ sentiment that poisons the coalition option outside of Quebec isn't at issue in Quebec.

Note on Michael Ignatieff's change in debate strategy: Patrick Brethour: Ignatieff seems to have learned a lesson from last night's debates: He's talking about what a Liberal government might do, not just why Stephen Harper shouldn't be reelected.

On the English dubbed version of the French debate: Patrick Brethour: Jack Layton gets a Scottish accent, and Michael Ignatieff gets a plummy British accent.

The two backrunners duke it out on their chances at being Prime Minister: Bill Curry: JL "Mr. Duceppe, you have good ideas, some times. But your team is like a hockey team full of defencemen. We can score goals." Bill Curry: Duceppe shoots back, saying Layton knows as well as he does that neither of them will be PM, but Layton won't admit it

The Champlain Bridge issue comes up: Les Perreaux: This would be one of those hyper-local issues that must send teeth to grinding among the 1 million or so francophones outside of Quebec.

The debate turns to the constitution: Bill Curry: MI: "Mr. Duceppe, it's 2011... No one is raising the Constitution." Bill Curry: Layton wants to re-open the constitution. "It would be difficult, but we are prepared to take the first steps. Les Perreaux: I wonder if re-opening the constitution really sells anywhere right now.

All sides get into spending on the F35s and the lack of a contract tendering process: Patrick Brethour: Bill, Les: Does Duceppe want to scrap the fighters, or make sure Quebec gets 57% of the contract?

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